Wednesday, July 18, 2012

fee's LIST / through 7/24

* "Ghosts in the Machine" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Spring St). A three-floor tackling of technology and machines in art. Co-curators Massimiliano Gioni (who in his spare time is organizing the 55th Venice Biennale!) and Gary Carrion-Murayari wisely go historic, featuring Hans Haacke, Otto Piene, Robert Breer, Gego and constructions by Emery Blagdon, amid others. The scientific approach to perceptual abstraction—i.e. Op Art—sounds, well, I'll give it a chance, and it includes Victor Vasarely, Richard Anuskiewicz, the mighty Bridget Riley and others. Plus a contemporary take on technological advances, via thought-provoking artists like Christopher Williams and Henrik Olesen.

* Otto Piene in conversation w/ Massimiliano Gioni @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Spring St), 7p. Even cooler: the German kineticist and founder of the group ZERO talks about the interconnectivity of his art with technology and nature to Gioni, "Ghosts in the Machine" co-curator and Associate Director and Director of Special Exhibitions at the New Museum.

* Japan Cuts 2012 at Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to 53rd/5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). Crazy-ass contemporary Japanese cinema felt a bit lacking in this year's NYAFF? Don't you worry, friends, they're all here in the bonkers 2012 edition of Japan Cuts. Read on for my picks (just look for the Japan Cuts 2012 slug):

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Girls for Keeps" (dir. Yoshihiro Fukagawa, 2011) at 7:30p. In last week's screening of "Love Strikes!" I opined 'whatever happened to Kumiko Aso?' Well, she's in this film too, a beyond glamourous Japanese equivalent of "Sex and the City" whose original title is "Girl" but more closely means "Super-Stylish—and Possibly Very Materialistic—Girl".

* "The Fifth Element" (dir. Luc Besson, 1997) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 7p. Sci-fi with HUMOR…what a rare concept! Park Bruce Willis (playing basically himself) behind a flying taxi, give him a huge-ass gun and a hot alien dame (Milla Jovovich as redhead), then send him off to defeat a roiling dark-matter planet of pure evil. And that ain't even the Cliffs Notes version to this awesome, sexy action romp.

* "The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave" (dir. Emilio Miraglia, 1971) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10:15p. Lord Alan Cunningham is so disturbed by his disloyal dead wife that he begins torturing sexy redheads in his castle's S&M dungeon! Replete w/ a psychedelic soundtrack!

* Heliotropes @ Union Pool / 484 Union Ave, Williamsburg (L/G to Lorimer), 9p/$10. Brooklyn's fiercest doom-pop foursome Heliotropes have the indie winds at their backs. From early ripping sets that produced the rumbling and yowling cohesion of "Holy Cross" and "True Love's Knot", to the psychedelic enchantment of new single "Moonlite", a headlining set benefiting Russian riot-grrrls Pussy Riot and an upcoming show at 92Y Tribeca supporting the BrooklynVegan photo exhibition this August. Yeah, I'm a huge fan, and a friend of these rockin' ladies. Their set tonight hints at new songs. w/ The Phantom Family Halo 

* 日本マドンナ @ Shinjuku Red Cloth / B1 6-28-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit, Toei Oedo/Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Lines to Higashi-Shinjuku Station), 7p/2300 yen. Three young riot-grrrls who look like juvenile delinquents but follow the rules of rocking out HARD. Meet "Nippon Madonna".

* Japan Cuts 2012: "The Woodsman and the Rain" (dir. Shuichi Okita, 2011) at 7p. Ah, Koji Yakusho, he's a superlative actor. Got the charisma of George Clooney and the action chops of Bruce Willis. Japan Society pays homage to this total badass, and "The Woodsman and the Rain" begins the Yakusho focus. In it, he plays…a lumberjack! A lumberjack caught up in the on-site shooting of a zombie film! Too awesome. w/ Koji Yakusho in attendance!

* "Tamed Territory" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. The focus of this gallery's summer show is animals and their environments, feat. paintings by Casey Polacheck, photography by Areca Roe, and—rather intriguingly—animal ceramics by Calder Kamin.

* "The Dark Knight Rises" (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2012) @ Alamo Drafthouse S Lamar / 1120 S Lamar. I put off thinking about this one for a long time—hey, I had "Prometheus" consuming my full anticipation!—but now the final chapter of Nolan's darker take on Batman comes to an end, and it's looking like a good one. I'll admit: I read "Knightfall" back in the mid-'90s, so I'm super-stoked to see Batman finally go toe-to-toe w/ Tom "Bane" Hardy. 

* Kingdom of Suicide Lovers @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 9p/$8. KOSL unleash addictively groovy noise-rock licks tempered by woozy coed harmonizing. If you told me they were from NYC circa 1992 vs Austin TX, I'd believe you. w/ Nervous Curtains 

* キノコホテル @ Koenji High / 4-30-1 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku (Chuo Line to Koenji Station), 7p/3300 yen. "Group Sounds" (think Japanese Beatles) live on in the all-female Tokyo-area garage-rockers Kinoco Hotel, whose perfect uniforms and hair-dos are equalled by their mega-fuzzy riffs and vintage organ lines. Tiny venue High should be extra cozy tonight.

* パスピエ @ Shimokitazawa GARDEN / B1F 2-4-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku (Keio Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station, South Exit), 7p/1500 yen Tokyo electro-pop darlings パスピエ (Passepied) channel Brooklynites Twin Sister with a hazy, nocturnal gloss. w/ FLiP

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Chronicle of my Mother" (dir. Masato Harada, 2011) at 6p. A sensitive look at family life, filtered through the greats like Yasujiro Ozu. Koji Yakusho plays a hard-ass dad coming to terms w/ his elderly mother's growing dementia. w/ Yakusho in attendance!

* Japan Cuts 2012: "13 Assassins" (dir. Takashi Miike, 2010) at 8:20p. Miike adapts Eiichi Kudo's '63 original into a sprawling nonstop fight-scene, with stalwart actor Koji Yakusho leading his ragtag band of samurai against the decadent masses. They're destined to lose, but not before decapitating a whole mess of bad guys! w/ Yakusho in attendance!

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Cure" (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997) at 11p. Hands down one of the scariest films I've ever seen, pure psychological dread starring Koji Yakusho (a frequent Kurosawa collaborator) as a grizzled gumshoe facing off w/ a psychic psycho. w/ Yakusho in attendance!

* Prurient @ Saint Vitus / 1120 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint (G to Greenpoint, 7 to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave), midnight/$10. Oh mother. Dominick Fernow is really nice dude, seriously, but when he removes his shirt (probably) and grabs like three microphones (totally), he's full-on noisician Prurient, among the loudest, most aggressive acts I've ever witnessed firsthand. Don't let the synth-heavy "Bermuda Drain" confuse you: he's liable to bury all that under shrill feedback and charming titles like "Cocaine Death".

* Warm Up 2012: Matthew Dear (DJ set) @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave), 2p/$15 (FREE for members). Ghostly guru Matthew Dear is "only" DJing Warm Up, but considering the microhouse crooner's got a new LP on the way (with autumn dates to follow), maybe he'll debut some heavy stuff? "Her Fantasy" is pretty sweet. w/ Sepalcure (Berlin/NYC) and Le1f (NYC)

* The Sour Notes @ Red 7 / 611 E 7th St, 7p/$7. Austin indie-rock powerhouse collective The Sour Notes kick off their 2012 tour "The Endless Sour" by playing a massive two-stage showcase, also feat. local dudes Royal Forest, Knifight, Jess Williamson, Little Brave, and many others.

* Futoshi Miyagi "American Boyfriend" @ Ai Kowada Gallery / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). Miyagi injects his Okinawan heritage and gay identity in this semi-narrative exhibition, utilizing traditional dyeing and stenciling to manipulate his photography.

* "Killer Motel" (dir. Kazuya Ozawa, 2012) @ TOLLYWOOD / 2F 5-32-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku (Keio Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station, South Exit). Considering "Robogeisha" producer Akira Yamaguchi has his hands in this blood-drenched chiller, a decidedly Japanese take on the slasher film.

* 灼熱の肌"A Burning Hot Summer" (dir. Philippe Garrel, 2012) @ Imageforum / 2-10-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, East Exit). Reasons to see this: 1) the latest searing drama from French auteur Garrel, 2) his brooding, oft-acting son Louis is the lead, 3) Monica Bellucci plays Louis' wife (what the hell?) and 4) John Cale scored the film. Summer just got a helluva lot hotter, kids.

* "Iron Girl" (dir. Masatoshi Nagamine, 2012) @ Ginza Cinepathos / 4-8-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku (Ginza/Hibiya/Marunouchi Lines to Ginza Station). Maybe you caught "Female Prisoner No. 701: Sasori", one of a series of Japanese-style "Women in Cages" sexploitation films. If you did, or if that title/theme even piques your sicko curiosity (hey, own up!), you'll be happy to know "Sasori"'s star, AV idol Kirara Asuka, plays the titular superheroine in "Iron Girl". She wears a powered-up (figure-accenting) suit and kicks lots of ass. Co-starring a bunch of gravure idols like Rina Akiyama.

* Miila and the Geeks @ Heaven's Door / 1-33-19 Sangen-jaya, Setagaya-ku (Den-en-toshi Line to Sangen-jaya Station), 7p/2500 yen. Tokyo singer/songwriter Moe Wadaka's incredible, indie-pop trio Miila and the Geeks (she's Miila, saxophonist Komori and drummer Ajima the geeks), whose slightly sinister, garage-rock debut "New Age" is a triumph for the indie scene. Plus Moe's behind the band's fractured lovely music videos. w/ Grayson Gilmour (New Zealand)

* "Surreal Performances with Photo-Projections, Words, and Voice" @ Tribes Gallery / 285 E 3rd St, 2nd Fl, 5p. Barbara Rosenthal curated this multilayered jaunt into the subconscious, starring contemporary NYC Surrealist artist/writers producing words and sounds against large-screen projections. Plankhead, Dean Ebben, Peter Grzybowski, Heide Hatry, and Rosenthal will each participate. Open your minds and dive in.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Love Strikes!" (dir. Hitoshi Ohne, 2011) at 1p. You have to be under 25 to understand the Japanese title, "Moteki", i.e. "unexplained romantic popularity with the opposite sex". Thus is the wave that crashes over nerdish pop culture writer Yukiyo (Mirai Moriyama), who unexpectedly befriends mega-cutie Miyuki (Masami Nagasawa). So the only natural thing happens: all these other hotties start digging him too, incl. Kumiko Aso (HELLO, where has she been??), Riisa Naka, Yoko Maki, and more. Rom-com to the max, baby.

* パスピエ + 快速東京  @ Shibuya LUSH / B1 1-10-7 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, East Exit), 6:30p/2300 yen. Dreamy electro-pop Tokyoites play ANOTHER show (see FRI), meaning I'm in heaven. Interesting contrast tonight, though, as they precede local spazz-rockers 快速東京, which is half the fun of these "Beat Happening" showcases.

* "The Eurythmics Live" (dir. Geoff Wonfor, 1997) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10:30p. A child of the '80s like yours truly cannot miss this Music Monday screening, a 35mm print of synth-pop legends The Eurythmics live in concert during their "Revenge Tour" in February '87.

* "Q: The Winged Serpent" (dir. Larry Cohen, 1982) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, 320 E Sixth St, 10:45p. A batshit bonkers monster movie about the mythical Quetzalcoatl roosting atop the Chrysler Building sounds unfathomable in the directorial hands of anyone besides the true mayhem-master Larry "It's Alive" Cohen. Makes me miss the Big Apple that much more.

* COH @ SuperDeluxe / B1F 3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku (Hanzomon/Toei Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station), 8p/2000 yen. Consider what your getting into when facing a COH (né Ivan Pavlov) show: the sound engineer's debut on Raster-Noton was called "Enter Tinnitus". That said, the Sweden-based producer's retooling of Cosey Fanni Tutti ("COH Plays Cosey") and last year's wonderful "IIRON" LP promise a glacial, mesmerizing set tonight. Decibels be damned! w/ VOVIVAV & Shotaro Hirata

* "Texas Prize 2012": Jamal Cyrus, Will Henry, Jeff Williams @ AMOA-Arthouse / 700 Congress. Texas-based professionals nominated these three contemporary artists for an exhibition, then another panel of jurors pick one for a significant award. Cat's out the bag: Williams won it, for a dripping, unnerving site-specific installation on the museum's second floor, combining Central Texas fossils with industrial objects and the light smell of unseen—or absent—chemicals. Like I wrote in my earlier LIST, I was pulling for Cyrus, for his outstanding work at the New Museum's "Alpha's Bet Is Not Over Yet" and the literary workshop "Book Club" at Project Room Houses in Houston, TX's Third Ward (w/ collaborator Steffani Jemison). His large installation of animal hide-covered objects, stereo equipment, and electronics is echoed in a video performance where he douses a tenor saxophone in batter, deep-fries it, and points microphones at the process. Noisily good, but then I'm into Merzbow (see MON, NYC). Henry's rather quiet paintings of landscapes in wrong colors all hang downstairs (I mostly understand why the museum didn't incorporate the three artists) and are all the more silent paired with Cyrus and Williams' work.

* Takuma Nakahira "Circulation: Date, Place Events" @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo Ward Tokyo (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station). Nakahira's series from the 7th Paris Biennale in 1971, where he represented Japan,    are restaged here for the first time, reflecting his youthful vivacity along the lines of peer and modernist photographer Daido Moriyama. (ENDS SUN)